Fear Of Extraordinary Experiences Will Never Cease

Worth the fear?

Before selling all my crap and leaving for Australia in 2009 I was scared. I distinctly remember waking up on 1 Sept, 2009 after a less-than-stellar night of sleep and thinking to myself “Holy crap, it’s happening, what am I doing? Here we go …” Even though Australia is English speaking and it’s not a place where I would experience culture shock, the newness (to me) of what was happening was a scary feeling.

Before flying to India in 2010 I was scared. I’d never been to a Third World country before and I’d heard many stories, both good and bad. “Prepare to experience the dirtiest place you’ve ever seen.” “India is amazing, you’re going to love it.” “Watch out for little kids getting too close for comfort and reaching into your bags.” Some of the things I heard were utterly ridiculous and nothing prepared me for the actual experience.

Before going back to my birthplace (Wroclaw, Poland) I was scared. Was I going to hate it? Would I actually improve my Polish language skills enough to stop feeling embarrassed conversing in the language?

Before jumping into a canyon head first in New Zealand I was scared. “You’re going to hold me upside down 160m above the ground and then drop me 60m in a few seconds? Hmmm …”

Before starting my first business project I was scared. “What if I fail? What if everybody makes fun of me? What if I don’t make it?”

Before beginning new business projects I still get scared. “What if this doesn’t go over well? What if I waste my time and the results are subpar?”

Before starting this blog I was scared. “Is anybody going to read besides me and a friend or two?”

You’re going to be afraid when you’re aspiring to extraordinary experiences. Fear is natural. There is no such thing as “no fear.”

There is such a thing as “I wish I would have done X and not let fear get the best of me.” That’s known as regret.

It’s not easy to live a life of no regrets, but if you don’t aspire to that are you even truly living?

This post was inspired by the “What do you regret?” question I received for Extraordinary Insights Volume 1.


  1. It’s funny fear seems to be the topic of the day, at least in my neck of the blogosphere. Fear is useful usually, until it becomes anxiety. I think the difference is in examining what fear is trying to tell you or letting anxiety rule your life. Still, nothing will ever convince me that bungee jumping is a fear worth getting over ;)

    • Haha! Bungee jumping isn’t scary once you do it. I actually did 2 jumps into the canyon. The first one freaked me out, but I just wanted to keep going after that. :)

  2. I agree, Karol! A lot of times, when I hear people tell me they “can’t” do something, I usually can hear in their voice something more along the lines of, “I choose not to because of the unknown…” I understand the fear, and I understand the avoidance of it. But it’s incredibly freeing to let go of that fear and just go for it. That’s when real living starts!

  3. It’s true, I’m on the process of collecting some miles and saving up to take a year long trip with my girl, it’s hard and sometimes scary of what live will bring. But it’s worst waiting for something to happen in a 9 to 5 lifestyle. I think most of us know the finish line for that lifestyle.

  4. Fear, like any other thing, can be a help or hinder. It may paralyze you but if you learn how to harness that fear, it can push you to great lengths and push you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t dream of doing. Like jumping headfirst into that canyon. Thanks for sharing, Karol.

  5. Hi Karol…I know all about that less-than-stellar night’s sleep before the first day of something big. “Good lord, here we go – hang on!” I feel it every time I get on a plane in the wintertime. I’ll never forget flying from Detroit to New Orleans in January a few years ago, navigating snow and ice storms that spanned the country from top to bottom, with cancelled flights and who knows what, and being terrified all day of being trapped in an airport far from home. But I’d looked forward to my trip for months, and I got where I was going safely and had a awesome time in Louisiana. One day of fear was better in the end than staying home because the weather was really scary.

    Regret can be debilitating…facing fear is always an opportunity for growth :)

  6. Karol,
    I just admitted this weekend to the FA audience that I get scared when launching new projects, too. Actually, a combination of excitement and fear of the “what ifs.” Even as we get ready launch tomorrow, I’m trying to turn fear into excitement especially since the sales page isn’t done yet and I have to still do a lot of testing.

    I say all this because even though I’m scared of what might go wrong, the benefit and my desire to accomplish get me past the uncertainty and turn negative energy into productive energy.

  7. Really like this post, Karol. Very true that you have no control over whether or not fear will exist, but you do have control over how you respond to it, and whether or not that regret will exist in the future. Thanks!

  8. Great post Karol.

    I know the feeling. When I landed in London for the first time, I was scared witless. The second time though, about a month later, it felt like coming home. :)

    I am currently facing a scary choice. I could go back to my hometown for the summer and work 40+ hours a week at minimum wage like I usually do. Or, I could stay in my college town over the summer to work about 10-15 hours a week at a job I love and use my free time to work on a massive personal project I’ve been wanting to do for years that is not 100% guaranteed to make any money at all.

    The way I look at it is, I can’t work at the megaplex forever, right? Time to take the plunge. :)

    • I like it. Screw that minimum wage stuff. You could make more with a small service business (painting, lawn care) in the Summer in less time, if nothing else. Working on the massive personal project will be more fulfilling than the megaplex either way.

  9. My general feeling is that if I’m doing something that scares the shit out of me, more times than not its a good decision that builds my character. I’ve just started a new blog this week and I’m already a little nervous about audience expectations even though I don’t have an audience. Aint life grand!

    • Hey Nate, congrats on launching your blog. In the beginning the audience expectations should be small. Write good content and connect with good people and you’ll hit a tipping point with time.

  10. Don Chaffer of the band Waterdeep has a song with the lyrics:
    “Ever since I was a little kid I didn’t want to run away,
    But if scared me half to death to think that I might have to stay.”
    -going out is scary. but the consequences of staying in are scarier.

  11. All of the most important things in my life have come after doing something that scared me to death. Moving my very pregnant wife to Taiwan was scary, everyone told us that the healthcare overseas was subpar, I’d never be able to support my family on the money I could make there, we’d contract horrific tropical diseases and all die in the worst ways possible. None of it happened. None of those people knew what they were talking about. It was scary, but without taking that first step into the darkness beyond the light of what I knew, I would never have gained the amazing life I live now. Taking that step into the unknown is scary, but it is never undoable unless you listen to the critics who tell you you can’t. Carry some salt around with you, and throw a pinch in the eye of anyone who tells you you can’t!
    Great post Karol, I always love your writing, it gets me so fired up!

  12. Heeh? So even you were scared? It’s not that I think i am the only girl who is scared of such an risky life hehe, but really it’s not that i think “I can’t do it” i’m just really scared of failing. I mean what if i give up everything, start something new in a different country and fail then? I am even kind of overstrained of this system life in Germany i am living in. They want this paper, they want that document, god its so difficult for me. What if i come back with nothing left? That are all fears i have but reading this encouraged me a bit. You can say i am a bit proud of you living your dreams when i am to scared. Maybe that changes someday and you definitely be a reason =)

    greetings Tamy :)

  13. […] Change the Game by Learning to Fail Faster Mistakes are not the problem.  Being paralyzed is the problem.  Re-frame in your own mind how you relate to mistakes. Don’t think of them as something to be avoided. Mistakes are opportunities.  I learned to be an effective speaker by doing it wrong enough times that I finally started to get it right.  (My apologies to everyone who was part of my learning curve.  Thank you for your kind patience.) […]

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